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Chip maker Imagination Technologies appoints new CEO

UK chip designer Imagination Technologies has appointed Dr Leo Li as its new CEO.

Dr Li is a well-known figure in the semiconductor industry. He was previously chairman of the Global Semiconductor Alliance and has over 30 years of experience in the field, working at Spreadtrum and RDA before becoming co-president at Tsinghua Unigroup.

Imagination Technologies produces silicon IP (intellectual property) which create the SoCs (Systems on Chips) that power mobile, consumer and embedded electronics.

Dr. Li will replace Andrew Heath, who led Imagination Technologies since February 2016. During this time, Apple announced they were going to stop using Imagination Technologies’ chips for its flagship iPhone and iPads. There was also controversy around whether Apple would breach Imagination Technologies’ patents. 

Shares in Imagination Technologies plummeted by as much as 70% following the announcement; as Apple was the firms largest customer and accounted for at least half of its revenue.

Imagination Technologies was then sold to Canyon Bridge, a Silicon Valley-based private equity firm backed by the Chinese fund Yitai Capital.   

Dr. Leo Li commented on his appointment: “I have paid close attention to Imagination over the years. We have a strong strategy today to evolve the company to the next level of success by capitalising on the opportunities in other markets, particularly China, one of the largest semiconductor markets in the world.

“We will have a renewed focus on technology innovation through strengthening our R&D capabilities, making Imagination a clear global technology leader again, and bringing value to our customers,” he added.

With Dr Li as its CEO, the company is now focusing on new license deals in China and seeking to bridge the gap between US, Europe and Asia.